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Al Franken, Giant of the Senate Hardcover – Large Print, May 30, 2017
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This book is an anecdotal, autobiography by democratic Senator Al Franken from Minnesota. It contains brief snippets of his childhood, his time with Saturday Night Line (SNL), both his campaigns for Senatorial office and finally some revelations surrounding the 2016 Presidential Election and its aftermath; things that have resulted in some unpredictable and unprecedented consequences.
Al Franken was first and foremost a comedian, and this trait comes shining through in this book. No matter the point in time being discussed or the seriousness of any given situation, humor in the form of a witty retort or funny thought is never far from his mind.
Is the book well written... well, yes and no. It is an basically an extensive anecdotal account of events that have occurred, plus some side remarks that may add some detail or color (often humorous). So this limits the ability and opportunity to write skillful prose. And in truth, if this had a professionally quality to the writing it probably would have lost some of its appeal and the honesty that I came to feel towards this book, and by association, this man.
One got the feeling that while reading this book that either Al Franken was continually tooting his own horn OR he was the rarest of all breeds, a politician that had some moral conviction, and the desire and stamina to fight for what he believes is right. My instincts and hopes lean me towards the latter.
I came away feeling that the Democratic Party could do a lot worse than having Senator Al Franken as their party’s Presidential nominee in 2020.
The book is informative and entertaining... 5 Stars.
For strategic reasons, Franken has tried very hard not to be funny -- not even at the wit level of a "normal" thoughtful politician -- since taking office. That seemed like it was tough on him, and this memoir makes it clear just how tough it was, not only because Franken had been professionally funny for decades, but also because Franken had always used humor to say whatever he pleased throughout his life. This book is very funny, and Franken both borrows and satirizes the tropes of the traditional political bio in telling his own strange story of his rise to office.
Because Franken gives himself leave to be funny again in this book, he is also very honest about his colleagues, the state of American politics, and himself. He also reminds readers that most politicians do not actually hate each other, and are close friends across the aisle. (He and his wife were close with Sens. Mike Enzi and Mike Johanns, and Franken lauds Sen. Pat Roberts for having a great appreciation of humor.) His chapter on Ted Cruz has gotten the most attention -- though it's just a few pages out of the book -- but it's clear that what really irks Franken about Cruz isn't the latter's politics (though he loathes them) but that Cruz refuses to see the Senate as anything more than a battleground, and stands apart from (and in his mind, above) his peers.
I started thinking that Franken may not have ruled out a presidential run when I got to the parts of the book about his time in the Senate. (This is a memoir of his whole life, though he spends most of it on his political career, so that's maybe half the book.) He writes with sincerity and passion about the issues he cares about, and is honest about flaws in his own party's approach as well as that of the Republicans'. Some of these portions are a bit preachy, but they indicate that Franken really is interested in advancing a progressive agenda. (Franken is farther to the left than I am, so I did not always agree with him, but his points are well-argued.)
This is a fair, funny, and frank book about both today's politics and perhaps its most interesting participant.
What to say after thousands have read and reviewed that would be different and make you want to read it?
No, the book is not horsepucky, but I hope I got your attention.
This is one of the better political autobiographies I’ve read; it was honest, blunt, LOL funny, informative, personal, and it even had photos and one drawing. BTW, Al Franken draws and more than just a map of the USA.
If you want to know about running for office in this day and age, Al has some input. He can also tell you who knows where to get the best Tuna Sandwich in Wash., D.C. (now, that’s humor).
IF you don’t buy it, then go to your library and borrow it to read (and write your review). You’ll be glad you did, either way.
I hate RATING books...a review should be enough on its own without some elementary grading system
Most recent customer reviews
I enjoyed the behind-the-scenes look at campaigning and legislating. The chapter long blast at Ted Cruz was extra special!!